Love Poem Number 943 by Joe Williams


Roses are red

Violets are blue

I’ve written a poem

To say I love you

It’s full of cliché

And there’s no substance in it

That’s ‘cos I wrote it

In less than a minute

Joe Williams is a writer and performing poet from Leeds. He appears regularly at events in Yorkshire and beyond, telling silly stories about things that probably didn’t happen, with the occasional moment of heartbreak just to keep you on your toes. 

A quick message, and a poem from Robert Garnham



Just to let you know that I’m working through the submissions. I’ve been inundated! It’s great reading all the poems, quite inspirational in fact. If you haven’t heard from me yet, then don’t worry, you will.
Anyway, here’s one from me, just to demonstrate the sort of things I do. 

They’re all called ‘Poem’, by the way. I come up with the titles first, and then the poems just see, to write themselves.

You’ll like the countryside, she said,

There’s lots of scenery,

There’s lots of greenery.

There’s fields and trees and they’re all green,

Especially the evergreens,

The greenest evergreens you’ll ever see,

And there’s moss and dappled sun and rhododendrons,

And there’s villages and villages greens

And the village greens are green

And everyone eats their greens

And also some of the tractors are green.

But I like the city and there’s green here too.

The Starbucks logo is mostly green

And so is the fungus in the bus station.

And my friend Pete’s car is green

And so is the tie i was wearing yesterday,

And the traffic lights are occasionally green

And salt and vinegar crisp packets,

Again, green,

And the District Line is green

And it passes through Turnham Green

And even though the neon signs are multicoloured

You could probably turn em green

And in any case

People here are too busy eating donuts and hummus.

We frowned across the plastic

Bus station cafe table.

Her coat was green

And so was her luggage.

Tenderly, I asked,

Would you like some broccoli,

Just for the journey?

No thanks, she replied,

I’ve got an orange.

Robert Garnham is a spoken word artist originally from Surrey. He has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe for the last three years, and at various festivals and performance poetry nights including Bang Said the Gun, Hammer and Tongue, Evidently and Jawdance. His first collection ‘Nice’ was published by Burning Eye Books and he was longlisted as Saboteur Awards Spoken Word Artist of the Year in 2016 and 2017. He recently headlined at The Duplex in New York.

My Cat Suspects, by Tara Lynn Hawk


I believe my cat suspects,

for as of late he has been rather “distant”

He thinks other cats in the neighborhood,

I have paid more than one visit


He is secretly checking my online accounts

for catnip and furry mice purchases

Gift wrapped and sent Federal Express

To other cat addresses


He senses other kitty smells

sniffing through my purse and bedding

Diligently looking over my clothing

for other feline shedding


My cat truly suspects

he is no longer the only one

and all I can say right now

is thank goodness

his little paws cannot handle a gun!
Tara Lynn Hawk is a San Francisco based \poet and writer whose work has appeared on “Spilling Cocoa”, “Spelk” and “The Poet Community”. “”


Never Say No To A Muffin, by Hilary Willmott 


Never say no to a muffin

At least that would be my advice.

They’re not always offered you daily

Yet sometimes you’re offered one twice.

Never say no to a muffin

Whether you want one or not

Lie back and enjoy the occasion

and remember they’re best taken hot.

Never say no to a muffin

You could sometimes share with close friends

But I feel they’re best taken solo

Whilst others would say it depends

Never say no to a muffin

Whilst indulging please don’t try to talk

You must focus on total enjoyment

And never attempt a brisk walk

Never say no to a muffin

I’ve devoured every one that I’ve had

Though I try to avoid those with sprinkles

As somehow they make me feel bad
Hilary Willmott has been writing since her schooldays many, many decades ago. She sees poetry as a companion who is much braver than she, taking her to places she wouldn’t dare venture on her own. She has been published by Templar Press, Flarestack and Velvet. She has also been shortlisted for national competitions. She lives in the south west of England, by the river, with her partner and a menagerie of rescued animals.

Rearranging My Pants Drawer, by Simon Williams


Pants take up a corner, front right

and I obviously remove stored pants

to put freshly washed ones at the bottom

before replacing the others, to ensure rotation.


This is for Y-fronts, of course,

hard-line M&S stuff. Calvin Klein

boxers are for those happy to be seen

in pants alone, who have hangers for them.


Around the triangle of Y-fronts

are socks, balled-up as my father showed me,

two layers, moved from back to front

as the front ones are taken out and worn.


So now you know, and this is where

I tie the action to the stream of English Poetry,

hinting at the drawers of Wordsworth

and how Dorothy most probably arranged them.


How Shakespeare, beneath his hose,

went commando, with just a codpiece

to maintain control. It was this free and easy life

which gave him time for all the other stuff.


But Homer had it best, Greek weather

and a single robe, all the cloth he needed.

With the time saved from underwear arrangement,

he could spend longer polishing his brogues.

On the coming of snow, by Susan Taylor


One day, no, it was one night actually,

it snowed in our village –

no, it’s not a proper village,

just a hamlet on Dartmoor –

no, not on Dartmoor,

technically on the edge of the moor,

with a proper little village chapel

and a proper little village pub –

oh, and a phone box

and a war memorial, of course –

you’ve got to have a war memorial.


This snow we had was Dartmoor snow –

proper stuff, settling properly,

looking convincingly fantastic.

The light was snow light

and snow light is something to see,

clean and pure as best grade moonlight –

ever so white, ever so bright,

but, sort of, even gentler and lighter.


No messing about,

this was snow you could take a shovel too

and move in obligingly proper cubes,

like a giant’s version of cubed sugar.

Sam and Ellie from the barn

at the bottom of our garden,

(it isn’t a barn anymore, it’s a proper house

and our garden’s a proper country garden,

with scruffy cobbled areas,

a perfumery of a rosebush in summer

and comfrey all over the place)

Sam and Ellie had got up very early.

They were young teenagers, at this stage,

replaying Christmas and we heard them,

before the light came in, building a snowman,

excitedly giggling, under the one streetlamp

by the sad little war memorial.



When it was light we looked out

of our little window

to see the result of their handiwork

and there it was –

a five foot tall penis, complete with balls

and a riot of twigs pushed in

around the scrotum,

which added the perfect touch of knowledge

and intimacy to their masterpiece.


I thought of Rome and of Pompei

and our honeymooning, appropriately, there.

Thanks to Sam and Ellie,

it all came flooding back – our wayward nights

among those mosaics of outrageous cocks.

We looked at them (it was allowed back then)

and we saw how a man weighed his equipment

on marketplace scales, to measure his manhood,

to do it justice. And, as if this wasn’t enough,

he commissioned, as door guardian,

a beautiful giant hard-on.


They didn’t need red Ferraris back then, or

drunken fisherman’s tell-tale stretched out arms –

these Roman lads, they had their talents.

Wouldn’t it be kind of awesome

to have such a monument, ornament,

sacred prick outside your house –

a good deal more show-stopping

than a garden gnome pissing.


Nobody in our village took down

Sam and Ellie’s potent, enormous confection –

they knew it was temporary, after all.

Frank took a picture and put it up on the web

under local news. It was the biggest thing

that had happened in Scoriton for a long time,

and it lasted a satisfyingly long time,

being checked and rechecked

on how well it stood up,

until it was inevitably spent.



Being mindful, I was put in mind

of the road junction at Dartington,

and the huge phallus once daubed

on the tarmac there,

This one, also, given enough hairs

to make a pair of balls convincing.


The good people of Dartington,

unlike the ancient populace of Athens,

for instance, who were well known

for their love of Priapus and his genitalia,

exercised their democratic right

and complained to the local council,

just as moorland ramblers would do here,

I guess, if we swapped our stone pixy

on the mounting block outside our door

for a much larger erection.
Susan Taylor lives on Dartmoor and loves the enigma of rural living. Her latest poetry collection is Temporal Bones from Oversteps Books. A new work, The Weather House, written with poet Simon Williams, appears shortly from Indigo Dreams. Watch out for The Weather House poetry show next year! See



Degrees of Separation by Maurice Devitt


When my wife ran away
with the milkman, I didn’t notice
for days. Just assumed
she was busy at work – rising early,
returning late. I had seamlessly
stepped into the breach – assembling
superfood lunches from berries
and bugs, ferrying the kids to lacrosse
and astrophysics, and debating
Sartre and Schopenhauer way past
their bedtime. So it was only
the third day, as I stumbled
from the fug of sleep,
that I was struck by the empties
building up on the step.

Cock and Balls by Tom Sastry


From the beer garden

of the Prince of Wales

on Gloucester Road,



you can see a high wall of white brick

clean as the tiled splashbacks

in the washrooms of expensive restaurants.


What we want

is not always

what is good for us.


What the wall wants

is a spray-paint cock and balls

the height of a giraffe.


What we feel most sharply

is sometimes what is missing.


Suppose, next year, something happens:

a religious revival

a ban on aerosols

or maybe we just grow up


and no-one


sketches cartoon genitals


(except for one professor

of prehistoric art

who pretends to be disappointed

when her students snigger).


It would be a changed world!

Like a world without war

or cruelty.

A better world –

but less familiar.


Would you fit in such a world?

What would you talk about?

How would you know what you were for

or against?


May you never be shown

what clean air could do to your lungs,

how you have raged against justice,

or what you did to love

when it found you.
Tom Sastry is a poet and spoken word artist living in Bristol. He was chosen by Carol Ann Duffy as one of the 2016 Laureate’s Choice poets and his debut pamphlet Complicity was published by Smith/Doorstop in October 2016.

Dating Profile Identification by Josa Young


All of
Cis Man
Non binary
Still just wants to climb in my pants
Nothing really changes

Josa Young is a novelist and copywriter. Her two novels One Apple Tasted and Sail Upon the Land are out there somewhere being read. She was a decent poet up until puberty, and has taken to verse again as all the creative frenzy of childbearing has faded.


Paint Spill by Julia D McGuinness


right outside B & Q
as people tent a kneeling girl;
an uprighted paint tin smirks
with seeping lid by a slick
of glistening Lavender Mist.

Fateful rush, fumble, tangle
of keys, dog-lead, shopping;
honey dip dreams tripped
in a moment’s tin-clop slop
on slate grey asphalt.

She wipes her dog’s legs;
in speckle and sprawl
feels the importunity of paint.
Plans upended; coral tears
streak cherry lush cheeks.

Buttermilk cheer of helpers;
sponges and sympathy,
but nothing to stem
the Tropical tide of if onlys
coating her paint-smudged brow.

Shades stacked on shelves
hold still for an apricot dawn
of laughter with friends;
dog in his soft mocha basket,
rain pawing the stain outside.

Julia D McGuinness is a writer, counsellor and writing for wellbeing practitioner based near Chester. She has written 4 non-fiction books and her poetry has been published online. Her first poetry collection, Chester City Walls, was published last year by Poetry Space.